CASE STUDY 6.3: Adapting to climate change and building resilience in Australian World Heritage properties: using climate change science information and traditional knowledge to inform risk and vulnerability assessments and adaptation planning
World Heritage properties are important assets. Natural sites provide ecosystem benefits, such as water and climate regulation and carbon storage in forested sites. Additionally, their inter-connected cultural heritage values can convey traditional knowledge that builds ecological and social resilience for change. The continued protection of World Heritage Areas (WHAs) across Australia (and indeed the world) requires improved understanding about the current and future impacts of climate change on their Outstanding Universal Values, and credible information and risk assessment processes to respond effectively to likely changes and build resilience.
We’re developing a participatory process for using Indigenous ecological and social knowledge and science-based climate change information to inform the development of a climate change risk or vulnerability assessment for World Heritage properties. This assessment can then form the basis for preparation of adaptation plans to build the resilience of World Heritage properties to climate change.
Drawing on previous work in the Shark Bay and Gondwana Rainforests of Australia WHAs, we’re working with the K’gari (Fraser Island) WHA to build the capacity and capability to use climate change science information to determine the impacts of climate change on the property. A fundamental component of this work is to enable the sharing and integration of traditional knowledge insights led by K’gari’s Traditional Owners.
The integration of physical science and traditional knowledge and cultural perspectives will provide a robust and multi-faceted basis for planning and management decisions. This work will form a model for co-producing scientifically sound and culturally informed knowledge and information products to underpin climate change risk assessment and adaptation planning for World Heritage properties across Australia and around the world.
Commenced: September 2019
More information: Mandy Hopkins, ESCC Hub Knowledge Broker
Publications and products
- Not available at this time